Game Scout: Dolphins at Steelers

Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Miami Dolphins (6-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh - TV: CBS
*TV announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
*Keys to the game: The Steelers have gone 20 games without a 100-yard rusher. Pittsburgh had great success in the no-huddle last week at Baltimore, and QB Ben Roethlisberger will continue to put the ball in the air. Moving the chains in the first quarter opens the offense to RB Le'Veon Bell against Miami's 25th-ranked run defense (121.8 yards per game). The Dolphins are woeful in the running game, but continue to grind yards with RB Lamar Miller behind a patchwork offensive line. The Steelers will be on the attack to test the Dolphins' pass protection, hoping to add to QB Ryan Tannehill's total of 45 sacks absorbed this season. Putting heat on Tannehill before he can reset and launch the ball downfield to former Steelers WR Mike Wallace puts Pittsburgh in position to force turnovers, but it also must be concerned about WR Brian Hartline, who leads the Dolphins in receiving.
*Matchup to watch - Dolphins WR Mike Wallace vs. Steelers CB Ike Taylor: Practice combatants as teammates from 2009-2012, Taylor rarely gets credit among the top cornerbacks in the NFL but he consistently answers the call against more-hyped competition.
*Player spotlight - Dolphins DE Olivier Vernon: Vernon's strong season reached a new high last week with three sacks and 10 tackles against the Jets. If the Steelers try to contain him with single blocking, Vernon could wreak havoc with his size and reach. He has sacks in three consecutive games.
*Fast facts - Pittsburgh has won eight of the past 10 meetings. ... Steelers TE Heath Miller has set a franchise career record for tight ends with 5,148 receiving yards, surpassing Elbie Nickel (5,131).
Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell emerged as a weapon in the passing game last week, and QB Ben Roethlisberger has eight touchdowns, zero interceptions and has been sacked just once in the past three games. The Steelers continue their playoff push while dousing the Dolphins' postseason hopes.
*Our pick: Steelers 24-17

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